March 11, 1968

Epidemiological Problems Associated With Studies of the Safety of Oral Contraceptives

Author Affiliations

From the Epidemiology and Biometry Branch and the Office of the Assistant to the Director for Population Research, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda. Md.

JAMA. 1968;203(11):950-954. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140110042009

Most segments of American society agree that excessive and disproportionate population growth is a social, economic, and health threat, and there is a consensus, reflected in the stated policy of the federal government1 that every family should have easy access to family planning information and services so that each may make an intelligent and uninhibited choice concerning the number of children desired. This consensus has increased the need for family planning services and efforts to develop improved techniques of contraception. New methods have been developed because the old ones are not suitable for all populations. It is difficult for a single method to satisfy all the criteria of the ideal contraceptive: efficacy, safety, reversibility, low cost, simplicity, and acceptability.

Advances in reproductive biology supported and conducted by private foundations, industry, and the government have resulted in several unique and effective techniques in the last decade, the most noteworthy being oral